Workshop Focus

Do you have a draft of a story, memoir piece, or chapter of a longer work that you feel could be better, but you’re not sure how to improve it? Do you puzzle over how to structure a mass of material? Do you wonder where to begin, and what to put in and what to leave out? Are you mystified about how published writers achieve layers and density in their work? Do you want to improve your ability to create complex, rounded characters, vivid scenes with effective dialogue, and artful exposition? Are you confused about when to show and when to tell? Do you marvel at telling detail and metaphoric imagery in great writing and want to write with that kind of precision and power? Do you want to learn more about how to create compelling, original pieces of writing?

This workshop will help you take your writing to the next level. We’ll focus on boosting both the creative, intuitive side of your writing—and also the craft side, strengthening the technical skills needed to shape raw material into successful, finished works.

There will be exercises designed to help you get in touch with your best material; we’ll learn by modeling successful published writing; there will be mini-lectures on various mechanics of good writing; you’ll have a chance to have a piece of your writing discussed, with helpful, constructive feedback from your classmates and the instructor. The workshop will be a great opportunity to concentrate on your writing, gain new skills and inspiration, learn from and enjoy a group of fellow writers, and return home with recharged energy and new ideas for your work.


This workshop is full. Click here to join the waitlist.

This workshop is for people who are writing fiction or memoir, and who will bring a specific project to work on during the week. To apply, please submit up to ten double-spaced pages of your writing (doesn’t have to be what you’ll bring to the workshop); and a brief cover letter telling Paulette about yourself, your writing experience, your long-term writing goals, and what you’d like from this workshop. Submissions should be a single file in .doc format with the title “AldenSub_YourName.doc”.

Submission deadline for priority consideration is June 15.

About Paulette Alden

Paulette Alden is the author of Feeding the Eagles, a short story collection (Graywolf Press); Crossing the Moon, a memoir (Penguin); and a novel, The Answer to Your Question (Radiator Press). Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, Stanford Magazine, the Antioch Review, the Mississippi Review, and others. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, where she was a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing, Alden has taught memoir and fiction writing extensively, at the University of Minnesota, Carleton College, St. Olaf College, the Madeline Island School of the Arts, and for many years at the Key West Literary Seminar. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Bush Foundation Fellowship, a Loft-McKnight Award, and several Minnesota State Arts Board grants. Originally from South Carolina, Alden lives in Minneapolis, where she blogs on books and writing and critiques literary manuscripts via her website,
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